Raising the Flag
Joe Rosenthal (b. 1911)
American Marines Raising American
Flag on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima
Gelatin silver print, 1945
Wide World/Associated Press
Prints & Photographs
Gift of Joseph C. O'Mahoney, 1961 (5.11)
Joe Rosenthal's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken on the
Pacific island of Iwo Jima is one of the best-known war images
ever made. The
island, more than six hundred miles off the coast of Japan, on
19, 1945, hoping to establish a staging area for bombers. Rosenthal,
a photographer for the Associated Press, landed under gunfire
hours after the invasion began. The Marines fought their way to
the top of Mount Suribachi on February 23 and raised a small flag.
Later that same day, five Marines and a naval medicine corpsman
raised this second, larger flag at the summit and were recorded
by Rosenthal. Contrary to popular belief, the moment was not staged.
In thirty-one days of brutal fighting, 6,821 Americans died, including
three of the flag-raisers. Rosenthal inscribed this print to Wyoming
Democratic Senator Joseph O'Mahoney.